SAVANNAH-CHATHAM COUNTY, Ga.
We’re taking a closer look at a Netflix Series that’s giving some parents and students reasons to worry.
It’s called 13 Reasons Why and it’s based on a novel that tells the story of a teen who commits suicide. She leaves 13 cassette tapes behind explaining what led to her decision.
Dr. Quentina Miller-Fields, the Director of Student Affairs of Savannah-Chatham County Public Schools, says she worries the series glorifies suicide and bullying.
She said unfortunately, there have already been incidents where students here have committed suicide. But moving forward, she says the key to saving more of our children’s lives is to strengthen the line of communication between parents, students, and staff.
For some, 13 Reasons Why, is a series taking on ‘artistic license’—telling a story of a suicidal teen, but for others like Dr. Quentina Miller-Fields, who’ve helped save students’ lives before the premiere of the show, it really hits home.
“I just saw the change in him, I just knew something was different and when the young man didn’t report to school that particular day—went to his home and found out that he was really, really, contemplating committing suicide.”
Even though she hasn’t heard anything alarming from staff, students or parents since it’s aired–the Miller-Fields worries the show could encourage more to do the same.
“Suicide and bullying should never be glorified, because it’s never justified. We don’t want to lose any of our students.”
She told us that they do take every suicidal incident very seriously. If a student expresses suicidal thoughts, they are required to go to the doctor and they’re not allowed to go back to class without presenting a doctor’s note.
“We are taking an on-going approach to it and let out staff know that bullying is real. There are laws to govern it, both for persons who may be involved in it, for persons who may be causing trauma to another student. So we give them the educational laws regarding bullying, so they can be proactive,” Miller-Fields told News 3.
While bullying isn’t the only thing– it’s one of the major things school staff works to tackle that can lead to suicide…especially now that social media enables it to continue after school is over.
“‘Please, parents—watch and monitor your child’s social media’, to make sure they’re not posting anything inappropriate…or to make sure they’re not receiving anything that’s not inappropriate,” Dr. Miller-Fields said.
It could mean the difference between life and death.
If you’re concerned about yourself or a friend, you can immediately reach out for help by: